Lotus 47GT
Lot 365
1966 Lotus 47 GT Group 4 Competition Coupé Chassis no. 47 GT 10 Engine no. 9C 13661111
US$ 130,000 - 150,000
£77,000 - 88,000
amended
Lot Details
The ex-Nick Moore Racing
1966 Lotus 47 GT Group 4 Competition Coupé
Chassis no. 47 GT 10
Engine no. 9C 13661111
Colin Chapman was both an ambitious businessman and prolific designer. By 1966, in less than 16 years, he had designed or constructed over 36 significantly different formula, sports and GT models. His first efforts were Austin and Ford-engined club racers, and soon he was producing a line of successful race cars using the Coventry Climax engines, in increasingly larger displacements and by the end of the decade Lotus was putting cars on the grids of Formula II and Formula I events.

Unlike Enzo Ferrari, Chapman was a race car constructor eager to join the ranks of car producers. In 1957 Chapman decided to build a production Grand Touring car, the Elite. This pivotal design was replaced in 1962-63 by the Elan, a favorite on the British TV series The Avengers. The Elan was successful, but Chapman had a vision of a new, much less expensive car about the cost of an MG Midget, with a mid-engine offering even better handling. The Lotus 46 (keeping with the E theme, it was named the Europa) was one of only two affordable mid-engined road cars at the time (the other being the Matra Bonnet MA1). Oddly for a British company, but with sound reason, the engine and drivetrain came from the front wheel drive Renault 16, modified to produced 80hp. Like the Elite, the Europa had excellent drag coefficient of only 0.29cd and was a low and as eye-catching as the Ford GT40. Like the Elan, it featured a stiff backbone chassis bonded permanently to the fiberglass body. It was introduced on December 20th, 1966.

On December 26th with little fanfare, the first of a very special breed of Europas made their appearance at Brands Hatch. Entered by Lotus Components, two white Lotus cars, called the 47GT, were on hand to be driven by Jackie Oliver and John Miles. Instead of the Renault engine Lotus engineers had installed a 165hp Lotus Ford Cosworth 1600cc twin cam. Instead of the pedestrian Renault gearbox, the Cosworth was mated to a Hewland FT200 limited slip transaxle. The rear suspension, a weak spot in the Europa, was modified with magnesium uprights from the Lotus 59 single seaters, and the backbone chassis was fabricated from lighter weight steel. The Europa front suspension itself taken from the Triumph Vitesse, remained standard except for springs, shock absorbers and pick up points. Unpainted, untested, untried in competition, the two cars defeated a Sports/GT field that included Ferraris, Cobras, and E Jags. Miles would have a very successful 1967 season with the 47GT, winning at least eight more events. As he told Lotus historian John Bolding, “A little understeery on some circuits….but, all in all, one of my favorite racers”.

All 47GTs and 47A GTs were produced or sourced by Lotus Components, with total estimates ranging from 50 to 70 cars total.

After the new Europa was on the road, it was found that the manner in which the body was bonded to the backbone chassis made repairs extremely difficult and costly. In 1968 Chapman was forced to redesign the Europa chassis, which would be no longer bonded to the fiberglass body, but made to be removed separately. The 47GT was given an A suffix. Along with the F1 sponsorship, John Player Gold Leaf also sponsored Lotus Components race cars and run as Team Lotus. The cars were now homologated in Group 4, on the assumption that more than 50 examples would be constructed even though most historians can only track two to four 47As. Call it a GT or a sports car, the 47A GT just went on winning, courtesy of Oliver and Miles. Oliver won his class at Brands Hatch and Croft, Miles won the 2 liter class at Silverstone and finished second in the Silverstone International event. Drivers associated with the 47 include Trevor Taylor, Tim Schenken, Jim Morley, John Hine, David Preston, and John Wagstaff.

This Lotus is one of the very early cars, with a chassis number of 47GT10.
According to the Lotus Register, it was originally sold by Lotus to Nick
Moor Racing, probably in early 1967, and was raced by John Blades
The current owner, an enthusiastic Lotus collector, purchased the car in
Great Britain in 1995. It was previously owned by Tony Mantle of Climax
Engine Services, John Harper and Jonathan Bradburn.


In 2002, 47GT10 underwent a full restoration. The engine was rebuilt and includes a new billet crank, Carillo connecting rods, and a competition valve train. The original Hewland FT200 gearbox was totally rebuilt. The fiberglass body and enamel finish are in excellent condition, painted in the famous red and white “Gold Leaf Team Lotus” colors. The black interior is restored with original material, and the cockpit is strengthened by a roll bar and support plate under floor. Fire extinguishing system plumbing, and a racing fuel cell all add up to a nicely prepared example. Few 47GTs have been resurrected with such passion.

Had Colin Chapman not been so focused marketing a low priced sportscar, he could have avoided the trauma that was the Series 1 Europa by simply concentrating on its remarkable shadow, the 47GT. Eventually, he did so anyway, and in 1971, the production Europa finally gained the famous Lotus Cosworth Twin Cam, albeit with the Renault gearbox still in place. There is no doubt that the 47GT was by far the greatest of the Europas, and one of Chapman’s most successful sports/GT machines. On that basis alone, this restored, race-ready Lotus 47GT would be a welcome addition to any garage or collection.

Saleroom notices

  • The engine number published in the catalog is incorrect. The correct engine number is LP1856.
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